Mr Bennin Issifu Douri, Upper East Regional Information Officer has urged the media to step up reporting on social protection services in the public sector.
He indicated that government interventions and programmes on social protection for the vulnerable could be more successful with support from the media.
He noted that recent reports of increasing corruption in the public sector only undermined and compromised quality delivery of services for the poor and under privileged and called on the media to ensure that the interventions received more coverage.
Speaking on the second day at the training for the media on service delivery standards and social accountability for journalists in Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, the ISD Director said the role of the media in fronting for the less privileged, socially excluded was critical.
Mr Douri who spoke on the theme; “Strengthening media knowledge on service delivery standards and social accountability to minimise corruption, reiterated that government placed the citizenry high, and it was important that every citizen benefitted from the many inventions rolled out under Maternal healthcare, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) under the Agriculture initiative, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and other social services.
He reiterated that due to the limited voice of the underprivileged to make public their challenges when receiving such public services, they continued to suffer deprivation and poor services.
He urged the media to increase its watch dog role to ensure that people managing those sectors were not engulfed in acts of corruption.
He called on the media to educate and inform the general public on these interventions, provide reliable information to enable the citizens also demand accountability.
Mr Eric Kwadjo Amoh, Upper East Regional Chairman of Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) who gave the objectives of the workshop, said the training was to build capacity of media personnel and increase their knowledge on the various pro-poor flagship interventions rollout by government.
He mentioned Maternal Healthcare and health insurance, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and the Fertilizer Subsidy under the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme that the Media need to provide publicity and educate members of the public on the privileges under the policies.
Mr Amoh said the two-day programme which was funded by the STAR Ghana Foundation and its allies including; DANIDA, UKAID and the EU was being implemented by the Citizens Empowerment Against Corruption (CEMAC); a consortium of four Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) namely the Association of Church Projects (ACDEP), which is the lead organisation, the Presbyterian Health Services-North, the Rural Initiative for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GIA).
Mr Nobert Apentibadek, Communications Officer at ACDEP who is the Coordinator for the CEMAC project told participants that the training programme provided STAR Ghana Foundation and its partners the opportunity to work around government social protection programmes, especially on Free Maternal Healthcare policy and LEAP among others to ensure the interventions were implemented devoid of corruption and its related issues.
He called on the media to collaborate with other implementing bodies to achieve the goal of the project and help to improve the wellbeing of the socially excluded and vulnerable.
Mr Kasimu Abudulai, Operations Manager at the National Health Insurance Authority in a presentation highlighted the importance of the Free Maternal Healthcare policy and the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He noted that it was to facilitate access to quality maternal healthcare delivery and services to pregnant women and mothers.
He said the gains recorded by the NHIA indicated that the confidence of expectant mothers in maternal health care was high, adding that “in insurance, confidence is very important. Anytime there is confidence boost enrolment follows”.
Mr Abudulai indicated that enrolment of pregnant women onto the maternal health care services on the scheme showed that the policy was accepted and so almost all pregnant women were enrolled on it for better maternal healthcare system.